I can feel my habits asserting themselves, lurching automatically, yet thwarted at most turns. Is that happening for you, too?
Jim and I usually travel for an extended period during the holidays. Last year it was our epic trip to Italy and years before to Southeast Asia. But this year, with stay at home orders looming all around us, we're staying close to home. Not by choice.
But. But. But....
I can feel my privilege jump into self-righteous action, "certainly an exception can be made for us!"
Habits can be hard to manage--particularly when we're feeling threatened. Particularly when we find ourselves in an ongoing unfolding large scale disaster. Reaching to comfort foods. Watching more movies. Shopping. Like a caged cat whose instincts MUST be expressed and in turn hurts itself, I am this creature of habit!
Mindfulness is poised to wake us up from these habits and sometimes help dissolve them, and all I can say is I can see the habits more clearly, but am not necessarily free from them.
Sharing special traditions may not be possible this year, but something is emerging and I notice it most when I sit in stillness. Rather than see these current conditions as a restraint being forced upon me, I'm beginning to see it as an invitation to something deeper. Something not available when I'm busy traveling or shopping.
Epiphany #1: Christmas evening we're watching the new release of Pinnochio at the cinema on the edge of Piazza Cavour near our hotel. It's all in Italian, but knowing the story, we follow along, recognizing a few words and phrases here and there. Roberto Benigni plays Geppetto and I'm transported back to the version of the story I learned as a child. I don't even remember that it is an Italian story until it unfolds on the screen.
Surrounded by caring and kind Italian families both in the cinema and for the week we've been touring around, I get a sense of the warmth I experienced from my grandfather and on occasion my father. There's a tenderness about the interactions. Protective and caring. And then it dawns on me...
I'm in Rome.
I'm in Rome, Italy.
This is where my family is from. This is where their family is from. Generations of Italian families growing up with this warm, kind attention and affection. With this caring.
I can remember it from my grandparents. I can remember it whenever I see loving and caring families, but this is different. Because everyone looks a lot like me. A lot like I did as a child. A lot like I'm beginning to look as a mature adult.
This. This culture of warmth is what I remember in my earliest childhood memories. The togetherness. The food as love. The guidance. The looking up to my parents with awe and reverence.
They wanted this for us. They wanted to give us this container of compassionate caring. This is what they were trying to build in the American culture of their time and place. In northern California, specifically in the Sonoma and Napa valley region.
I well up with tears during the movie and by the time we exit, I'm holding back sobs. Important sobs. I'm feeling embarrassed, as I usually do when I can't control or name what's happening. I finally stammer to Jim, "I don't know what's happening, but I need to just sit and experience it until it passes."
Appreciation of my Italian heritage was rekindled, fostered and deepened as we wended our way through the north of Italy towards my family roots.
"...the poor are at the centre of the Gospel, which is the greatest thing we have; they are the privileged recipients of divine mercy. If we remove the poor from the Gospel, it no longer makes sense." ~ Papa Francesco (Pope Francis)
*Papa Francesco is the term used to refer to the current pope, Pope Francis.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.